Now, I'll be candid with you, my next statements might offend some of you, but they are not intended for the people who found they liked the area and decided to purchase and build there. After all, the land was for sale and the zoning was approved to do what they wanted and they wanted the beach. But what if the county leaders had the foresight back then to think where this would go without smart leadership? What about the unintended consequences which were never considered? No one thought of it that way for they saw visions of money, big money for the county coffers as developers who were chomping at the bit to get every single square foot of sand built on if possible, won the day. The result, no real advance planning and one need look no farther than the north side of Oregon Inlet to see what they have wrought and they still want more. I knew it would be bad when I returned last April for the first time since 1992, but I had no idea it would look like what I saw as I approached the beaches from the west over the Baum Bridge. Well, what's done is done and they've set the precedent so that legally it's probably too late to stop and the once pristine upper island will keep growing and become more and more congested until sometime in the future nature will do what nature does. It will be ugly when it happens.
But what about Hatteras Island, that long strand that is predominantly NPS territory? What does the future hold for the island? Well, the proposal for a excessively tall, seven story hotel on that fragile island, a proposal which likely has the support of the new breed of county officials, will be the first indication of what will happen. The areas that are allowed to develop will continue to do what earlier happened farther north and it will be like a condo ghetto on an otherwise beautiful inhabited sandbar. Then, when the storm comes and wreaks havoc, much of which will be caused by collapsing structures sending their debris like dominoes into everyone else's, not even a jug handle bridge will be of help. And if the rivulets of water from overwash create new patterns of where the water goes, they'll probably just try to build another S curve section of the highway in response or perhaps a series of jug handle bridges. And just think, in the end someone will say that roundabouts are in order and even more and more confusion will prevail. Think it can't happen? Well, not many years ago no one would have taken seriously a jug handle bridge.
Folks, I don't mean to be sarcastic but, seriously, when will leaders of such once marvelous locations realize that continuing in the future with same old, same old measures that only make things worse in the end is futility. I guess when the drainage pumps and pipes to handle runoff and pollution in emergencies start handling more than emergencies but have to run around the clock every day, the ocean will finally rebel. What then? Well, just take at look at South Florida where such improper disposition of excessive water turns the ocean and the gulf green and smells like a sewer. When that day comes, everybody will scream and say why didn't we know? And the answer will be because they never asked. Meanwhile, by then the politicians will be retired and the developers will have moved on to greener pastures (no pun intended) and the poor people and the new batch of politicians will just need more money than they ever collected before just to make it livable again. Eventually the ocean will rise in anger and flush the entire place clean. I'm getting old and will probably never see it, but I wish them well. In the meantime citizens, not just on the Outer Banks but everywhere development is on steroids, pay attention to the unintended consequences. No one else ever will.